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Last Updated: Monday, 16 May, 2005, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Lomond park strategy is unveiled
Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs became a national park in 2002
Comprehensive proposals for the future development of Scotland's first national park have been unveiled.

The draft plan sets out policies for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, which was given its special status nearly three years ago.

It covers a number of topics, including housing and tourism.

Changes have already been introduced, such as more facilities for visitors, but concern has been voiced about the pace of new developments.

The consultation document, published on Monday, sets out a framework which will be developed over the next five years.

They include proposals to promote:

  • Sustainable use of natural resources

  • Understanding and enjoyment of the area's special qualities

  • And sustainable economic and social development.

When the Loch Lomond and Trossachs area officially became a national park in July 2002, new visitor facilities were opened.

It was the second largest of its kind in the UK, covering about 1,600 sq kms with a population of 14,000.

However, since then the park authority has highlighted a decline in affordable housing over the past 20 years and wants more investment in social housing.

It also wants to see better transport links because it believes "day- trippers" should not have to take their cars.

The have-your-say exercise will last until 2 September and will include public meetings throughout the summer.

Consultation on the plan is a great opportunity for people who come to the area to enjoy outdoor activities to have their say
David Hughes Hallett
National Park Access Forum

Authority chairman Gillie Thomson said: "We want to hear what everyone with an interest thinks about the plan - both in general about the approach that we've taken and in particular about the policies that affect people most.

"We also want to learn what actions individuals or organisations can take to help deliver the vision of the plan."

Alan Alexander, boss of Scottish Water added: "It is heartening to see the National Park Authority taking forward their plans and looking to the future and seeking direction from those who want to see Loch Lomond and the Trossachs develop and prosper."

Tourism chief, James Fraser of VisitScotland, said: "The publication of the plan represents an important milestone in helping to shape the future of Scotland's first national park."

Bob McIntosh, of the Forestry Commission, added: "We are very conscious of the special responsibility and privilege we have in contributing to the park's objectives."

Loch Lomond
People can have a say on the proposals until September

And David Hughes Hallett, of the National Park Access Forum, said: "Consultation on the National Park plan is a great opportunity for people who come to the area to enjoy outdoor activities to have their say, so as to inform the Park Authority's work for the future."

The Scottish Green Party's environment spokesman Mark Ruskell MSP added: "The launch of the weighty draft plan is an important step forward.

"The different interests that operate in the national park must engage fully with it and treat it as part of their own business plans."

There has recently been a consultation on new by-laws on Loch Lomond and those changes could include better protection for some of the islands.

More footpaths are expected and, thanks to a plan by the Forestry Commission, a massive new area of native woodland is to be established.

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